A long time ago, when I wore pigtails but not by choice (like I do now), I wanted to learn how to juggle. I don’t know why, but somehow I got it in my head that the ability to juggle was this awesome thing that would make me the coolest person in the world. (Or some other moniker-of-awesomeness.)
In the end, what I learned was that I completely lack coordination. If I’m lucky, I can keep two balls in the air for a little while. That’s it. Two. And don’t ask me to do it for long, or regularly. Because I fail at that as often as not.
That was true when I was a kid, and it’s still true now.
It’s also true in less literal ways. Leading up to the RT Booklovers Convention a couple weeks ago, I was in a panic. I had edits due. I had to revise the book I planned to pitch and get it to the betas who promised to read it while I was away. I had Mothers’ Day. I had stuff with the kids. I had freaking dogs to get to the vet. I knew I was behind. So a couple weeks before RT, I issued a warning that I would be saying no to anything extra. Because I’m smart like that.
Unfortunately, I forgot I had some things to do that weren’t extra. Like the ELEW. :/ I dropped that ball so hard it bounced down the street and rolled into a drain and washed away to Lake Huron. It took me until today to retrieve it because it, quite honestly, wasn’t even on my radar.
And I feel like crap about it.
But I also know that I should have planned for that ball. I should have had blog posts at the ready. I should have scheduled in advance. I should have done all the damn things that I know to do. Or at the very least, I should have let someone know I couldn’t juggle that too.
One thing you find after you’ve been published for a while is that people want things from you. Sometimes they want free books (look for free days and giveaways, thanks!). Sometimes they want critiques (Charity crits take precedence over all others.) Sometimes they want other favors.
Learn to say no. Learn it early and practice it often. The more people get used to you saying no, the easier it is for you and the less badly other people will take it. Don’t make promises you can’t keep–it’ll save your sanity later on.
So, here I am, trying to dry out the water-logged ball with the ELEW label. Had I taken on fewer other things, maybe I wouldn’t have dropped it. I don’t know. What I do know is I’ll be saying no a lot more from here on out. My sanity demands it.
And my conscience demands I apologize to all of our readers. I will do my best not to drop the ball again. If I do, feel free to take a page out of my son’s playbook and lob that thing directly at my head. (You can even claim you were trying to throw it for the dog. I’ll pretend to believe you.)